9.28.2016

Traveling Europe // Dublin, Ireland


This has got to be a serious record for me... Travel posts usually take me at least three months to get up, but I've been averaging about six for the past year and a half... However, I know you're all on pins and needles, just waiting to hear more about my European travels. So, I figured while we're all still on that European high (ok fine, it's just me), I'd get these posts rolled out. Seriously though, this is a big deal...

Ok, first up on my European adventure was Dublin, Ireland! I arrived after a 13 hr travel day at the time I would normally be going to bed here in Utah. However, it was morning in Dublin, so that meant there was only time for a quick shower before I needed to be out the door! I spent the day wandering the city, taking in all the sites that I possibly could. The Spire was the first site to see (which by the way has no real historical significance. It's just a cool landmark), followed by Ha'Penny Bridge, St Stephen's Green Park, the Trinity College, and of course - the Castle of Dublin.

I was amazed at the amount of flowers along the streets. It seems that every windowsill and porch steps are covered with vibrant and lush flower boxes. The street performers were everywhere, which is one of my favorite parts about city life, and I couldn't help but snap a photo of this little boy in the Leprechaun cutout. It cracked me up! The parks are plentiful in Dublin and filled with picnics, dance groups, and of course - more flowers.

Dublin is where I had my first gelato ice cream of the trip (there were many), and it was the perfect welcome snack! For dinner I had some incredible Irish soup and a puff pastry topped with brie, pears, and rocket - which we in America refer to as arugula (that was so interesting to me).

With a belly full of warm food, feet that couldn't walk another quarter mile, and eyes that wouldn't stay open, no matter how hard I tried - my travel-friend and I made our way back to our airbnb for a good night's rest. To my relief, I slept like a rock for a good ten hours and awoke ready for my second day of European adventures!

to be continued...

9.26.2016

Favorite Fall Accessories


It is officially Fall in Utah. The leaves have changed, the air is brisk, and there is even snow in the mountains. With that Autumn sun dancing off of every brightly colored leaf, my eyes can scarcely take it all in. The way the light bleeds through the branches, and onto the leaf blanketed ground has me convinced that magic does exist. Because nothing so beautiful could take place in a world without it.

Another beautiful fact of Fall is that it's jacket weather. And goodness knows I love any excuse to wear the brightest jacket in my closet. It's the perfect shade of Autumn red - like a freshly picked apple or the color of the leaves that have turned the mountainside into a "burning" masterpiece. I'm pretty sure every girl needs the perfect red jacket for Fall...

jacket - ann taylor (old) similar
top - hope ave boutique
jeans - top shop
shoes - sam edleman
ring - color by amber
watch - c/o daniel wellington watches
necklace - c/o happiness boutique

What's your must-have or favorite Fall accessory? These boots and that jacket are definitely two of mine!

9.20.2016

How To Create the Ultimate BOO Kit

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, MARS. All opinions are mine alone. #BOOitForward #SweetSquad #CollectiveBias

The BOO'ing season is now upon us, and I have been so excited to BOO it forward to a few deserving people I know, with the help of some great ideas from BOOitforward.com. For this year's BOO Kit, I wanted to create something a little bigger than last year's BOO Bucket (which I loved), because this family who I was planning to BOO is very deserving. So I came up with a plan, which of course included M&M'S® from Walmart (which is seriously a one-stop shop for all of my BOO'ing needs!) and some adorable Halloween American Greetings® products, and got to work.

I'm going to teach you how I put together the ultimate BOO Kit, so you can begin this favorite Halloween tradition with the wonderful people in your own life...

To make the Tombstone Treats, you will need:
6 cups crispy rice cereal
6 cups miniature marshmallows
1/3 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup bakers chocolate
white decorating frosting
M&M'S®

Directions:
Pour your crispy rice cereal into a bowl and set aside. In a sauce pan, over medium low heat, melt your butter and marshmallows together - stirring constantly. Once the contents have melted, pour it into the bowl with the crispy rice cereal and stir together, making sure to completely coat the cereal. Once it has been combined well, pour the contents into a greased 9x11 pan and flatten with a greased spatula. Next, cut your treats into 4x6 rectangles and then form them into tombstone shapes. I stuck with the basic arched shape for my Tombstone Treats.

Set your tombstones aside, and in a saucepan, melt the bakers chocolate over medium low heat. Once it has melted, dip your tombstones into the chocolate. I only did one side so as not to overdo it on the chocolate. Once you have coated all of your tombstones, place them in the fridge or freezer to let the chocolate harden quickly. Once it has hardened, remove them and begin decorating them with your white frosting and M&M'S®. I decided to keep mine simple with "RIP" and some M&M'S® flowers. But feel free to go all out!

Now, to make your BOO Kit, you will need:
a basket
hay - enough to fill your basket completely
tissue paper
a fake crow (optional)
American Greetings® goodies
Halloween candy (I went with M&M’S® Fun Size and STARBURST® Fun Size)
THIS BOOitforward.com printable card
Tombstone Treats

Directions:
First, you will need to line your basket with a tan-colored tissue paper, then top it with your hay. I filled my basket all the way to the top. Next, begin filling your basket with the American Greetings® goodies, M&M'S® and STARBURST® fun sized, and attach the fake crow to the handle. Lastly, to make your Tombstone Treats stand upright, place a skewer through the middle of the treat, then stick it into the hay. I placed three of my Tombstone Treats into the basket, to give it a bit of a "graveyard" look. One last thing you could (and totally should) add to your BOO Kit would be the new Ghostbusters® movie which is available on DVD in-stores beginning October 11th! It would be the cherry on top of the ultimate BOO Kit!

I picked up all of my BOO Kit and Tombstone Treat supplies at Walmart, but you could also shop online at Walmart.com!

Now I'm feeling extra ready for the BOO'ing season to take off - full swing! Who will you be BOO'ing this year? Don't forget your BOOitforward printable!

9.19.2016

Game Time Dessert // Ice Cream Cookie Cups

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, MARS. All opinions are mine alone. #SweetSquad #CollectiveBias

Every good football fan knows that half of the fun during game time is the food. What would a football viewing party or tailgating event be without the most delicious and hearty food to accompany it? It just wouldn't be the same. So, today I am sharing a dessert recipe, using SNICKERS® Crisper from Walmart, that is sure to make a winning goal at your next big game event.

For this recipe you are going to need:
your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough
1 SNICKERS® Crisper bar (for every 2 ice cream cookie cups)
your favorite ice cream
green & gold sprinkles
bakers chocolate
white decorating frosting

Directions:
First, you'll need to whip up your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. It doesn't matter which recipe you use, as long as the dough is moldable rather than runny. Next, using a knife and exercising caution, chop up your SNICKERS® Crisper bar into small pieces and add 3/4 of the pieces to your cookie dough, saving the rest for later on. Mix the SNICKERS® Crisper into the cookie dough well, then refrigerate it for about 30 minutes.

Next, grease the bottom side of a muffin pan as we are going to use this to make our cookie cups. Once its greased, mold your cookie dough around the cups and to the shape that you desire. I decided to give my cookie cups a bit of a lip around the top, this allowed me to serve the maximum amount of ice cream per cup. (I only baked as many as I needed rather than filling up the whole pan. This helped me monitor the baking process and kept my cookie cups from sticking together.) Then bake your cookies as directed in your selected recipe.

Once the cookies have cooled, flip the muffin tin over to release them from the pan. Next, place them on your serving tray (I love this football themed tray I also picked up at Walmart!) and fill the centers with your favorite ice cream flavor. Top the ice cream with green and gold sprinkles to match the big game colors (think green for grass and gold for luck), as well as your left over SNICKERS® Crisper bar.

To complete the dessert, I used some bakers chocolate to create little football toppers. I warmed the chocolate until it was moldable, formed them into football shapes, then topped them with some white decorating frosting. They added just the right touch to my football themed dessert.

Now you'll be game time ready and wow your party guests with a dessert that's sure to make a touchdown for their tastebuds! And don't forget to snag a few extra SNICKERS® Crisper, they're the perfect way to deal with game time hangriness.

What's your favorite dish to serve for the big game?

9.06.2016

Basic Breath Series For A Healthy Lifestyle

I'm I have been compensated by Sundown Naturals® and Pollinate Media Group for this post as part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Sundown Naturals® but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #GoodnessGiveaway #sharethegoodness http://my-disclosur.es/OBstV

A few years ago, I experienced a big physical change… That might seem like an odd thing to say, but it’s true. I went from being completely brokenhearted which left me switching unexpectedly between being the saddest I had ever been to completely numb. At the low point, I spontaneously decided to move across the country. I knew that something needed to be done and that something was putting myself in a safe and secluded place where I could begin to heal. I so desperately craved a healthy lifestyle, as I wanted nothing more than to heal and feel like myself, again. 

What I found through that move was exactly what I wanted - restored health and energy, which came from better nutrition, spending time with people I absolutely love, experiencing new things, but also the start of my own Kundalini Yoga practice.  

Kundalini Yoga takes you back to the basics. To primal sounds, physical movements, and better breathing. So today, I am going to teach you a bit about the Basic Breathing Series, as it’s something everyone can do - no matter their physical condition - that will deliver almost instant results. This set will help to open up the channels that balance the breath in the two sides of your body. It’s the perfect thing to do whenever you need a quick energy lift and a clear mind. To start, sit in “easy pose” (criss-cross applesauce) and make an antenna using your right-hand fingers and blocking the right nostril with the thumb. Begin long, deep breathing through the left nostril for 3 minutes, then inhale and hold for 10 seconds.

Repeat exercise 1, but use the left hand to block the left nostril, and breathe through the right nostril. Continue for 3 minutes. Then inhale and hold for 10 seconds.
Next, use the forefinger and little finger to close alternate nostrils. Inhale through the left nostril, and exhale through the right nostril using long deep breaths for 1-3 minutes. Once you have completed that, repeat that exercise, except inhale through the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril for 1-3 minutes.Next up, you will place your hands in the GyanMudra and begin the Breath of Fire. This means you will pant like a dog - but only through your nose. As you do this you will need to pump the navel (in on the exhale and out on the inhale) and try to keep from using your shoulders.Next, Totally center yourself at the brow point, continue with a regular, powerful breath for 3-7 minutes, then inhale and hold - circulating the energy throughout your body.

Once you have completed the breathing exercises, you get to relax or meditate for 5 minutes. Then to finish, chant a long “Sat Nam” for 3-5 minutes (Saaaaat Nam). Sat meaning “truth” and Nam meaning “name”. Put together it is basically saying “I recognize the divinity within you”.
Now that you have started your day properly, be sure to add in some essential Sundown Naturals® Gummy Vitamins from Walmart to your routine. They’re the perfect way to add instant nutrients to your day that are an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Plus, you can feel confident knowing that Sundown Naturals® Gummy Vitamins are free of gluten, dairy, and artificial flavors◊. It’s a win-win, really. Be sure to head HERE and take this short quiz to find out which Sundown Naturals® are the best fit for you and your family. I chose the Sundown Naturals® Melatonin and B12 Gluten Free Gummies. The B12 Vitamin (raspberry, mixed berry, and orange flavored) is the gummy to support my energy metabolism while the Melatonin Vitamin (strawberry flavored) will help me have a more restful night. Plus, both are especially delicious!But wait, the goodness keeps on going, because you can enter the Goodness Giveaway Sweepstakes today! Head into Walmart and purchase at least 1 Sundown Naturals® vitamin product for a chance to win weekly prize packages and potentially a grand prize! Weekly winners will win 1 of 4 prizes! A Fitness Pack, Foodie Pack, Free Spirit Pack or Yoga Pack! Simply upload a picture of your receipt here and you are entered for a chance to win some seriously incredible prizes now through 11/1!

What are some of your favorite practices for living a healthy lifestyle? I’d love to add them to my own routines!

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. ◊Applies to all products manufactured after 5/1/15. Please check back of label as manufacture dates may vary.

Basic Breathing Series Attribution - 3ho.org
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